I don't know why I always set myself up for disappointment.
For this issue, as Reseller News has done annually for some years now, we asked channel figures to give us their thoughts on what the coming months hold.
Frankly, I was hoping we'd be able to report something big, new. Something apocalyptic. 2012 is, after all, the year the ancient Mayan calendar stops reckoning time. And there could only be one explanation for a vanished Meso-american civilization's calendar to come to a close.
It's the universe, stupid. It's coming to an end. That would be a good thing because nothing sells magazines better than the end of the universe.
Sadly, this isn't what we heard this year. I don't know why I set always set myseflf up for disappointment.
While our industry figures made some fairly sobering points about the serious challenges facing resellers, none of it amounted to the end of the world as we know it.
What we heard was, really, more of the same. There is continuing pressure on resellers to change, merge or fold in light of the same technology market disruptors they have been contending with for several years now. There's virtualisation, continuing to make a commodity of hardware; and there's its twin-brother, the cloud, continuing to make a commodity of, well, everything else.
As Microsoft Chris Ichter suggests in the pages of this issue, some small resellers may decide to let their businesses disappear, if they know they're heading into retirement anyway. They know they can rely on steady work for some clients, to do some procurement for them, and they know that the model of moving boxes is over.
Fair enough. But others, like Southern IT, know what's going on and are changing with the times because they want to compete. While it seems that the pressure on resellers to fold or merge is greater than it has ever been---in large part because the margin juices has bave squeezed out of the fruit that used to be sold in boxes---these kind of resellers are showing the kind of resillience that makes me feel hopeful for them. What they recognize is something that might have been lost in the marketing hype of "the cloud changes everything" variety.
This is that a reseller is now what it always has been: the client's trusted advisor. If there is any "new" trend to be seen in the pages of this issue, it might be that no matter what else is going on, there is always going to be room for making sense of IT on behalf of the unwashed masses. And delivering it, regardless of its form: on-premise, off, hosted, or otherwise.
Datastor's David Rosenberg described the situation succinctly when he told Reseller News' Senior journalist that "there’s still going to be a need for local infrastructure, there’s certainly still going to be a need for private cloud. What we are seeing is a number of the service providers offering a much wider level of service around cloud providing and that creates opportunities in itself. I don’t see doom and gloom and I don’t see that it's going to change the channel or the purchase model." [emphasis mine]
As a bred-in-the-bone pessimist, and someone who once worked for a sensationalist tabloid that thrives on big scary headlines, it's hard for me to admit that I'm not going to get any traction out of millennial despair in light of that. But as an editor that wants his readers to thrive in business, I say, you go reseller. Find that opportunity, on premise and in the cloud.
The channel, now and forever.